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Excellent views of Saturn


journeyguy
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Have recently been able to observe Saturn more frequently as it pops up inbetween the houses at an earlier time. I have been 2x Barlowing a 8mm EP with my 200p getting a x300 mag and the views have been fantastic. From what I had read I thought it would be too blurred to look at at this level of mag but infact the clarity has been very impressive. The banding was very clear and the outside ring was distinct. Bearing in mind the seeing conditions have been good this past week - is anyone else getting particularly good results with high magnification of late?

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I was using 257x with my ED120 refractor last night and Saturn was really excellent with the Cassini Division, Crepe Ring and contrast variations in the A and B rings clearly apparent. I tried 300x for a bit and the view held up well but no more detail was visible so I dropped back to 257x again.

My 12" dobsonian will support 300x plus or more when the seeing conditions are right.

It's a shame that Saturn is so low though. The proximity of the horizon will be shaving off some contrast and resolution as we peer though more atmosphere. I keep thinking how good it would be if Saturn was high in the sky as it was a few years back.

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Saturday night/early sunday morning was great here too, very steady views. I pushed it to 217x times with my modest equipment and the views were very clear, the cassini division was as steady as a rock, best views of it I've had to date in my brief start in astronomy, but sunday night it was rather poor again.

It does really seem to vary even when to the eye the sky does not look that different . Until you do actually look through the eyepiece at such high magnification I find out how stable/unstable the atmoshpere is on any given night.

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...It does really seem to vary even when to the eye the sky does not look that different . Until you do actually look through the eyepiece at such high magnification I find out how stable/unstable the atmoshpere is on any given night....

Absolutely right. What looks a great night does not always deliver so well when you actually try to view with a scope !

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Another good night here for Saturn tonight. I've spent the past couple of hours varying between 318x and 397x. Really nice detail during the moments of best seeing - the planet almost looks like the Voyager photos at times :grin:

Quite possibly the best I've ever seen the ringed planet looking.

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A good night here too. Looking very crisp in the C925 at x235. It was still good at x336 in the 7mm ortho but the proximity of the light path past my greenhouse meant seeing was a little variable.

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Looked great at 260x for a while, think I even spotted the Encke division too! I'm finding I often want to use more power than 93x (7mm), but less than 260x, I either need a 3-6 Nagler Zoom or eyepieces in between :).

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I could see a contrast variation in the A ring around 2/3rds of the way between the Cassini Division and the outer edge of the A ring. The outer portion of that ring seemed a little brighter with the contrast variation being where that began but I'd not claim it as a division as such. Cassini was very sharply defined though, including across the face of the planet where the ring width is the thinnest. The Crepe Ring was nicely defined too in the Ansae of the rings and in the form of a contrast variation where the rings crossed the planetary disk. With all that plus 6 moons, a couple of bands around the planet and the N polar cap it was a pretty good view :smiley:

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Had some amazing views of Saturn tonight,Cassini was visible even across the face ,as was the Crepe ring,but what blew me away was for the first time ever i detected the Encke division,very definite for a few seconds at a time when the seeing was really steady.I was using a 12.5mm ortho with a 2x barlow giving me a mag of x254 which worked really well.

Unfortunately the house roof put an end to a great night of observing Saturn.

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Thats great Paul - well done :smiley:

Maybe my contrast variation in the A ring was a detection of Encke after all ?

It's my house roof that ends the Saturn show for me too, as it happens :rolleyes2:

If Saturn was higher in the sky just think what these scopes would reveal !

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John, it probably was the Encke division. It seemed to just show itself for me in a split second when the seeing was good - unfortunately the seeing never seemed to improve much when I continued observing.

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John, it probably was the Encke division. It seemed to just show itself for me in a split second when the seeing was good - unfortunately the seeing never seemed to improve much when I continued observing.

Thanks Jonathan. You did well to even glimpse it with 130mm of aperture I reckon.

I've read about the Encke Minimum as well as the Encke Division and I wondered if the two are the same, different or sort of merge into one contrast feature. I found this interesting article:

http://ejamison.net/encke.html

Apologies to the original poster, journeyguy, for taking over this thread by the way - at least we are still on topic !

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Thanks Jonathan. You did well to even glimpse it with 130mm of aperture I reckon.

I've read about the Encke Minimum as well as the Encke Division and I wondered if the two are the same, different or sort of merge into one contrast feature. I found this interesting article:

http://ejamison.net/encke.html

Apologies to the original poster, journeyguy, for taking over this thread by the way - at least we are still on topic !

Having read the article, I now think I spotted the Encke minima, not the Encke division - it seemed far 'sharper' than the Encke division is, and was localised to the LHS of Saturn's rings (as I was concentrated on only that spot).

Edited by Naemeth
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Hehe, no worries it's good to pick up on this knowledge - now I know what to look out for next time! I definitely need to try viewing it away from my back garden though, once I have past my driving test I will be taking my scope on lots of travels, especially to my local astro group. Could always travel further south to get Saturn higher in the sky although not always the most feasible option.

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The seeing has been so good of late I even managed to bump up the magnification to x400 (using a Barlowed 6mm Ortho). Whilst there was some loss of contrast and brightness, the details were still outstanding. Encke was hinted at though I cannot claim it as definite, there was some variation in the A-ring. Six Moons too (Titan, Tethys, Rhea, Dione, Iapetus and Enceladus) was hoping I might have got a glimpse of Mimas but it was just too close to Saturn and lost in the glare. Said it before but these are my best sightings of Saturn in over twenty odd years of observing...wish I'd had a better scope years ago when Saturn was much much higher up !

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  • 4 weeks later...

When viewing conditions are good, Saturn can seem to handle high magnifications. I was using 300x with my ED120 refractor last night and it was pretty crisp before the clouds messed things up. You don't need that sort of power to see all the detail your scope can show of course but a larger image scale can help pick out some of the features more distinctly. You need to back off the power though when things start to get "mushy".

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Last night was the best night for quite a while, Saturn was truly stunning,

it has been good all week here, and was a very enjoyable night.

I live on the Wirral too. When is the best time to observe Saturn? I would like to observe it this weekend! :)

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I have a old rv-6 criterion scope Nd manage 360x and Saturn was still sharp but the conditions were just very good I saw Enkes division at that mAg and saw the green olive cap with 2 bands in the surface with the crepe ring easily seen the A ring had some shading And I drop to 315x and it was very sharp Saturn shadow Cast itself on the back of the rings very pretty I put a 9mm OPS UO ortho and it made the details even clearer to see a great night with the rv-6

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Over this weekend managed to get some good viewing done what a site majestic as ever saw good banding on surface nice ring seeing

quiet steady atmosphere so all in all im pleased .

I too managed to get our new scope out. I dashed home to Gloucestershire from Ruislip and made it back home with just enough time to get the scope outside and cooled before setting up, by which time he sky was beginning to darken.

I could see saturn from my back garden (Just!) over some houses, and as it sank in the sky I was able to follow it down a gap between the houses and trees.

This was our first viewing, of our first target with our first telescope and I am completely blown away by it. I woke up my very sleepy 8 year old and he was very excited to see it too, with the ring very clearly visible.

Tracking Saturn was indeed something of a steep learning curve with the 10" Dob, but I am already quickly getting the hang of it, and able to line it up in the targeting viewfinder in such a position it passes right across the eyepiece.

I really could do with some much closer views of Saturn which means some other eyepieces but need to research this thoroughly first

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Grab Saturn while you still can. Tonight has been really quite good, considering how low it is. Very thin clouds here, but the air seems really steady with conditions good for planetary viewing. Just saw it at 160x and 216x, Cassini was very clear, the change over from the B to C ring was also nicely visible, Very still image overall.

Holy cow, this planet is a feast for any astronomer, couldn't even get a look in half the time with the misses at the eyepiece :D

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